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My Turn

Newfound Lake is under turbine attack

I’m one of thousands of residents who oppose industrial wind power development on Newfound Lake.

I’m not some “green” environmentalist who wants to stop all commercial development in New Hampshire. I do consider myself a conservationist and choose to live in rural New Hampshire for its diverse offering of outdoor recreational opportunities and for the rural small-town way of life – both of which are being threatened by industrial wind-power development.

The electricity from this project is destined to go to a utility company in Massachusetts. There will be no benefit to the majority of New Hampshire residents other than some taxes and other benefits to the towns of Danbury, Alexandria and Grafton. New Hampshire’s electric rates will not be lowered; in fact, they will rise.

The major reason for the increase in New Hampshire’s electric costs is to finance improving and enlarging the grid system to accommodate the surge in electric power from wind turbines when actually functioning. They will not replace existing power plants, which are necessary as backup when there is insufficient wind.

Wind farms are not economically competitive with other forms of energy production, particularly natural gas. They could not survive without the extensive assistance from the federal government consisting of cash grants, the productive tax credit and the renewable energy credit, all of which are ultimately provided by the U.S. taxpayer.

In addition to destroying the aesthetic value of our mountains and Lakes Region, wind projects such as that proposed for the Wild Meadows Wind Power Project will have a negative effect on our tourist industry (who wants to look at these monstrosities?) and property values for those in their environs.

We in New Hampshire will pay the price of having our scenic mountains covered in wind turbines while most of the profits go to an out-of-state developer and its investors.

If you agree that New Hampshire’s Lakes Region should be preserved, send a letter to your legislator today. There are already three industrial wind farms in operation now with another three under development in New Hampshire. Our state does not need another one.

Newfound Lake is unique to New Hampshire, and we should be doing everything within reason to preserve its natural beauty.

(Ray Cunningham lives in Bridgewater.)

Legacy Comments12

Everyone needs to open up their minds here. First of all, I am very liberal. But that does not mean I support every facet of alternative energy. An in this case, I do not support the Wild Meadows project. Honestly, there are many reasons for this, both personal and philosophical. I do realize every source of energy requires sacrifice from groups of people and environments and that some sources have more obvious dangers, such as oil and nuclear. But the mass production of this energy has a long history to learn from. Wind power does not. We are still learning a lot. What other dangerous and harmful impacts are still in store for those living things nearby? Should we just jump on the wind bandwagon because we are “liberal” or “environmentalists”? No we need to be responsible. I also wonder if those people speaking out in favor of the Wild Meadows project are aware of what such a project actually entails. Have they looked at the maps proposing miles of turbines that surround, even fence in groups of people and habitats? Are they aware of the massive clear cutting, the blasting and removal of ridges, the creation of extra wide roads where forests used to be, or the widening and straightening of roads in towns not capable of taking care of these new roads? How will all of this cutting and shaping affect erosion and water sources? This is not a couple of smoke stacks or one large facility. These turbines, the access to them, and the transfer of energy, requires thousands of acres. Another concern I have is how Iberdrola is pursuing these small communities, or more precisely specific landowners to use their land to access and build the turbines. Many of these landowners need the money promised them and that is understandable. But there is much information out there saying that these promises are thin, as are the supposed tax benefits for the entire community. Everyone should examine these more closely, not just for the next five years, but the many years to come. But more importantly, I feel that these communities are targeted because they do not have zoning protections in place. Therefore Iberdrola is allowed to come in and have individual contracts signed, bypassing the actual will of the entire citizenship, many of who are directly beneath or in the shadow of the turbines. This then pits community members against community members, friends against friends, and families against families. Whereas, either an agreed-upon zoning policy or a town vote would have gone a long way to keep this from happening. I am originally from one of these communities and I see it happening to the people, friends, and family I know there. I now live in a Massachusetts community with one turbine and I supported it. I would not have supported a farm of 37. And even though I supported the original turbine, I have come to know many who have suffered from the noise and especially the constant “flickers”. Try to imagine what this does to a person’s psychological health. In the end, I think restraint and a slow movement toward mass renewable energy is the best way to go. Not only will we learn more about the effect but the technology should also improve, requiring less to create more, cleaner energy.

I can understand your concern, if you don't like the looks of windmills - I don't like the looks of the smokestacks in Bow and Newington, or the sight of the huge nuclear pimple on our coast. I don't like the giant towers carrying power from Seabrook Station through our town. I wish we all didn't use so much energy - many other industrialized countries use half the energy per capita that we in the US use. Regarding your concern about the cost of wind power vs "other forms of energy production": Have you considered that taxpayers spend about $100 billion yearly to provide military security for foreign oil shipments? Taxpayers also spend quite a bit related to "other forms of energy" at the DOE, NRC, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, EPA, etc. The World Bank estimates that the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster will cost $235 billion - I expect that will happen here too of we keep running all the nuke plants way past their life expectancy, or if some moron or terrorist gets into the control room. Factoring in all the taxpayer costs of "other forms of energy", windmills are competive. Windmills have a relatively low environmental impact because they don't blow up, spill oil in the Newfound Lake, or spew out radiation, mercury, or CO2. I think we should put up lots of windmills everywhere we can and be proud of them as Americans.

Mr. Cunningham seems to be loose with some of the facts. Newfound Lake is not under attack, the nearest of the proposed wind mills is four miles away. Mr. Cunningham lives in Boston, Ma., not Bridgewater, NH, just check out his Facebook page and you will see. He has a summer home on Newfound Lake and can afford the luxuries that the working people of this area cannot, multiple tax bills and waterfront property. The tax rates in the towns of Alexandria, Danbury and Grafton are $20 to $25 per thousand, whereas Mr. Cunninghams waterfront home in Bridgewater is closer to $10 per thousand. Of course there will be tax relief, whenever you put a project worth a $100 million in an area, there are going to be tax benefits. I am not sure if I support or oppose the wind project but I do know that I support the facts and not Mr. Cunninghams misuse of the truth.

Hmmm...No apology ???

Ray, I believe the stronger argument to be made is that NH is being defiled and polluted (visual pollution) by foreign investors (Spain and Canada) to reap large-margin profits out-of-state. In the case of wind, that also includes federal subsidies. N.H. is being used as a New Jesery-like pass through to more lucrative markets. Likewise, no one is bringing heat to the sight selection committee or the N.H. development point person.

I think people in general do not understand the electrical grid. Power plans service the grid, and we ALL get our power from the grid. What town hasn't had to give up something to build a power plant to service the grid? Does the letter writer care that he gets his power from another town or state???? If no town or state is willing to build a power plant...then you have no power.

Sail...... It's a little "Disingenuous" of you to make such a post. You have been personally involved in this since the beginning. So Fes up and post like you are involved !!!!!...................................NHD

LOL...Ahh..I love the Left!! Freedom loving hypocrites..every one of them. First, they try to figure out who you are, then they tell you how to post. Frankly...I dont give a damn!! (thats a hint)

Kenny & Scarlett !!!!! How are you ??? How is Underfoot??? Are you guys in for the Pizza party in January??? Hope we see you!!!....... NHD

Disingenuous or not, it is SCO -- is that Sail? -- whose understanding of the electrical grid is not current. (Nice play, ‘ey?) We do not all get the same electrical power “from the grid,” as power is now “wheeled” at specific prices, to specific re-distributors to benefit specific producers. Cunningham’s point is fair, not so much SCO’s criticism. Like you, I have a new pseudonym. Any guesses re my former cover?

A guess re your former cover?? Hmmm...Liberals all sound the same to me...One thought, one narrative..all insulting. Could be anyone. As for my understanding of the electrical grid, I said "we all get our power from the grid"...Correct statement. Do we all get the "same" power from the grid??? Of course not. Power plants have to be serviced, so at times they must shut down for repairs. Power then has to come from different plants.

“Liberal”?!? Why do you figure? All I did was offer a FACT for discussion... Oh! Now I get it! But “insulting”? What was my insult? Please help me out here.

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